Why every online marketer should know about load balancing

Why Should I Care About Load Balancing?

Load balancing ? NTT ICTIf you’re an online marketer and you have a substantial online presence, load balancing is a tool that you need to be aware of. Why? Because when you’re in the middle of a highly-successful campaign that’s bringing in thousands of new customers, the last phrase you want to hear is, “The website is down.” That’s death to an online marketing campaign, and it can slash your reach to zero within minutes.  This is common on websites that sells popular concerts or events. You click on the ‘Buy ticket’ icon and all you see is forever rotating loading icon then after 10 minutes your browser crashes. Talk about bad user experience!

Problems like a website going down mid-campaign occur when far more people than usual visit a website in a short period of time. This can bring down an entire server because there are more requests for information than it can handle. The result is disappointed potential customers who often don’t bother coming back later and it looks bad on your brand.

So How Can Load-Balancing Help?

Load balancing is a method of distributing informational workload. Just as a group of people with a heavy load to carry will pitch in so that every person supports part of the weight, websites can be configured to spread the request load over multiple servers. If one server gets too many information requests, it will distribute its workload to a different server, spreading and thinning the load. Load-balancing also allows for failover, so that if the primary server goes down, a backup server can seamlessly take over and handle the load until the primary comes back up.

Does My Website Need Load-Balancing?

It’s essential to plan realistically for the internet traffic that your website will need to handle, and be prepared with contingency plans if your company has a greater than expected amount of success. Your website’s load-balancing needs might well vary from campaign to campaign, too.

Your website’s general load-balancing requirements will depend on:

  • Number of simultaneous visitors expected.
  • The complexity of the operations that the server will need to perform (is it just providing text information, or are people watching videos and filling out online forms?).

Ask your developers or your service provider (if your website is managed by a third party) about load-balancing. Here are some of the questions you should be asking:

  • Is load-balancing in place on our website?
  • How many simultaneous visitors can our website handle?
  • We have XYZ campaign coming up next month, and we’re hoping for 10,000 people to fill out ABC form. Could our website handle all of them doing it at once?

Summary

Load-balancing is an essential part of any large online marketing campaign, and having it in place can be the difference between wild success and utter failure. Always take it into consideration during the planning phase of a marketing campaign.

Added 5 August 2014

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